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Xylitol – An ingredient that should never be in your pet’s food
Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many consumables, may not be a huge deal when it comes to human health but when we talk about our pets, it can potentially prove fatal.
The artificial sweetener can be found in a variety of food items, particularly sugar-free chewing gum, mouthwash, toothpaste, vitamin supplements, some peanut butter brands, and many sugar-free or ‘low sugar’ products.
Why your pet should never consume any food with xylitol in it. As a pet owner, you need to make sure that any of the dog or cat food your beloved pet is consuming
contains zero xylitol.
Once the ‘trick and treat’ rituals begin on Halloween, it’s common to see owners letting their pets indulge in some of those sweet treats – completely unaware of the damage they may do to their furry friends.
While it’s very well-known that chocolate is something dogs should never be fed, xylitol is another ingredient that is often found in many sweet foods and ‘treats’. The common sugar substitute has been shown to be highly toxic, even in relatively small quantities.
So, how does it affect pets?
Consuming any foods or sweets with xylitol will cause low blood sugar levels in your dog – known as hypoglycaemia – where the pancreas confuses it with actual sugar. This will make the pancreas release more insulin – way more than necessary. A dire after effect of this is that it replaces the actual sugar in your pet’s system, leading to rapidly sinking blood sugar levels.
It doesn’t end there, unfortunately. Liver failure is another adverse reaction of xylitol and this is far more serious than the above condition. It is, therefore, critical that dog owners be aware of any food their pet might be having which contains
xylitol. Prevention is a good place to start – e.g. any kind of human food should never be given to your dog, as so many of those foods contain xylitol. Completely harmless to us humans, but potentially fatal for your dog!
If you’re fond of chewing gum, ensure that you don’t leave any packs lying around – or even pockets, cabinets, drawers and handbags that your pet might want to raid. They often do, the furry munchkins!
It’s common to see dog owners leave peanut butter on their dogs’ licky mats – after all, they are meant to keep anxious dogs calm or stimulate them a little when they are bored. This is absolutely fine as long as you know it’s a dog-friendly brand of peanut butter, meaning there is zero xylitol in it.
Has your dog consumed anything with xylitol? Don’t panic! If your dog has consumed anything containing the artificial sweetener or if you’ve unknowingly given
them something not knowing this – relax. However, you need to act fast: since xylitol absorbs rapidly in the bloodstream, it’s important to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Thankfully, the drop in blood sugar can be controlled quickly.
Any delays in veterinary intervention can cause irreversible damage to your dog’s health.